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Hiking from hut to hut is not the most obvious option for a holiday with the kids. Up and down mountains, say 2,000 metres of elevation gain, a dormitory full of roaring mountain enthusiasts and the inevitable "Are we almost there yet?". - Nothing for children, right? Well, yes, it is! If we at Bookatrekking.com agree on anything, it's that the mountains have something to offer for everyone: including the little ones and the smallest aspiring mountain goats. With a well-tailored itinerary, an adventurous spirit and tips from our trekking experts and clients who have gone before you, you too will go on a hut-to-hut trip with the entire family!

We regularly come across customers at Bookatrekking.com who themselves went on a hut-hiking trip with mum and dad as children and now want to do it themselves. There may have been years of beach holidays, backpacking and festivals in between, but there comes a day when you are grateful to your parents for those long journeys to the Alps. Valuable life lessons. Do you too want to give your kids a fond memory of the mountains? Great idea!

7 Tips for Hiking From Hut to Hut With Children


Is your child ready for hiking from hut to hut? Let's put one thing straight. A child is always ready for any new adventure. A child adapts to a new situation faster than an adult. Also, it is not your child who found this blog post wondering how to go go hiking from hut to hut as a child. It is you, the parent or carer, who found this blog post and you are wondering what to consider. Nothing wrong with that, because there are definitely some things you need to consider.

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Hiking from hut to hut with a toddler is not the same as with a child of 12. From around 12 years old, many children can handle the same as adults with some patience. For a hut to hut trek with children under 12, we give you 7 tips and then we give you some suitable routes as a bonus.

Tip 1: Kids Decide (Almost) Everything


What they always like to be, they really are on a hut to hut trek: in charge. They don't need to know but you certainly do! If the children are happy on a hike, so are you. Both during the preparation, the journey there and the hike itself, adapt yourself to your child. This doesn't mean they make all the decisions. It means they have a voice when it comes to choosing which hut hike to go on, but more importantly still, they set the pace.

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When hiking with children, the emphasis should always be on fun and never on sporting ambitions. If your child is already hiking by himself, take it easy. Unlike a day hike, when hiking from hut to hut with children it is often not possible to shorten or to abort the mission. Less is more! If you arrive at the hut in the early afternoon, it doesn't matter. You then have more time to play, frolic or enjoy a Kaiserschmarrn.

Tip 2: Don't underestimate children!


Melynda Harris hiked the Alta Via 2 in September 2022 with her husband and her two sons (14 and 15): "Although I'm glad we waited until they were teenagers to do this, we could easily have done a shorter or less steep trek when they were younger. The main thing we had to think about was whether we had enough food. The lunches you buy at the rifugios were quite small, so we always got extra chocolate and snacks. Most days we stopped for lunch at rifugios or restaurants along the way, but my teenagers were still hungry from time to time."


Photo: Melynda Harris and the children on the Alta Via 2

The children are already teenagers but the Alta Via 2 is still a very tough hike, definitely not recommended for children under 12. However, the experience was not too bad for Melynda: "Personally, I found the whole hike downright delightful. I wish we could have kept going. It was puffing and panting at some stretch though, especially for my husband and me. The kids just kept going."

Tip 3: Hut to Hut Hiking With Children, Not Child


Our trekking expert Sierd lives in Cape Town and regularly goes hiking in the mountains with his son. Although, regularly? "We are fortunate here that we literally live on a mountain and so we can always do an impromptu hike after school or at weekends. When he was around three years old, he liked to go without a hitch but now that he is eight, he doesn't immediately find it exciting. Of course, he is already somewhat used to it, so the challenge is not so much in the walk but in what he encounters along the way. And that very thing is more fun when he walks or runs with other children."

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Photo: Sierd of Bookatrekking.com and son on Elsie's Peak in Cape Town

Are there siblings? Great, then they can entertain each other. Not? Then consider going on a hike with another family. Together is more fun than alone, especially for children. Sierd: "If the children are enjoying themselves, you are more likely to keep walking. They then come up with their own ways to make it exciting or competitive. A race is always fun of course!"

Do you doubt yourself or your family's physical capacities? Contact our trekking experts and get obligation-free advice.

Tip 4: Children’s Happiness Lies at the Summit


It doesn't have to be a race, but having a goal is always fun. Children will soon realise that they are walking from hut to hut. They see mountain peaks everywhere but these do not necessarily come closer. Climbing a mountain peak is a physical and mental challenge that make for great memories. We often hear that these are unforgettable moments from clients who climb Kilimanjaro. You are not going to find Kilimanjaro in the Alps, but there are countless smaller peaks that are relatively easy to climb.

The mountain huts you encounter on a hike are not just there for you as a hiker. If they were built by the Alpine Association, they were originally often bases for climbing peaks. From every hut you can climb a few peaks, which often include peaks that are doable for children. Have a short hiking day and arrive at the hut early? Have a bite to eat and find children's happiness at the summit!

Tip 5: Eye Spy With My Little Eye


"I can't go any further." You're bound to hear it a few times during a hut trip with children. This does not mean that your child is completely spent. Good chance he or she is bored. Then it's time for singing, dancing or playing. Throwing stones in a mountain lake, trying to whistle on blades of grass, guessing animals, eye spye with my little eye, there is always something to come up with.

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Without stuffing the kids full of sugar, this is also always a good time to have something to eat. Bring plenty of (healthy) snacks and sit down for one. When walking with children, the walk is the destination. You can fully enjoy the time you have together with your family on a hike.

Tip 6: Kids Have a Packing List Too


You're going to the Alps, not camping. Having a packing list for your hike will ensure that you have everything you need with you and don't have to drag along too much. Are the kids coming along and can't yet carry a backpack of their own? Then assume that this will be added to your backpack. Here you can find a complete packing list with a checklist for your hut trip.

Children have their own packing list. This will make sure you have or get everything they need. Involve your child in this. Go to the outdoor shop together and take the packing list below with you. You can then look together at what you already have and on the day of packing, you can cross everything off together. You can find a PDF version of the packing list below here.
hut to hut hiking with kids

Tip 7: Book Together and (Well) In Advance


The fun of a hut-to-hut hiking trip with children starts when you start working on finding a suitable option. Depending on how old your children are, you can research together. How many days will you be on the road? How long are you hiking for? What all would you take with you? Read descriptions of and look at photos and videos together. Children don't want to be just a "fellow hiker", but want to know what to expect.

The hut-to-hut hiking season starts mid-June and ends mid-September. In recent years, treks and huts have grown enormously in popularity. If you want a chance of getting a private or family room, it is wise to make your plans as early as possible. If you have slightly older children, a family room may not even be that interesting. It can also be fun and exciting to share a room with hikers you don't know.

Suitable Routes for Hut-To-Hut Hiking With Kids


If you are looking for a hut tour with the kids, it can quickly become overwhelming. Differences in altitude, levels of difficulty, and huts that are or are not child-friendly, Austria or France? Where do you start? At Bookatrekking.com, we help families choose hut-to-hut hiking trips every year. Looking for a tour package? Below you will find all child-tested and popular options in an easy overview.

From 4 Years: Vallée de la Clarée in France


Mont Thabor is a 3,178-metre-high mountain in the Massif des Cerces mountain range, in the Hautes-Alpes in France. Although beautiful, we are more interested in the hiking trails around this peak, especially those starting in the picturesque village of Névache. Located in the Vallée de la Clarée, this village is one of the Alps' best-kept secrets. The Tour du Mont Thabor is for mountain goats, but we have developed a trek that is fully geared to the tiniest mountain goats.

Claree river hiking

3 days and 2 nights in Vallée de la Clarée gives you the opportunity to see if hiking from hut to hut with children is for you. No more than 2 to 4 hours of hiking daily, relatively little altitude gain, family-friendly huts and all the while you and the kids are in the French Alps. An absolute winner. Read more about the Tour du Mont Thabor and Vallée de la Clarée here but note that Tour du Mont Thabor is not suitable for children. Find our packages for a hut tour in Vallée de la Clarée here.

From 6 Years: Lasörling Höhenweg in Austria


If children are 6, you can assume they can do the trek without too much parental help. If they are younger, you either take it very easy or you still carry the little one from time to time. On the Lasörling Höhenweg in Austria you hike between 2.5 and 5 hours a day, with patience doable with children. Last summer, Anne Verbokkem hiked the Lasörling Höhenweg with three children, aged 12, 15 and 15. As a child, she went on a hike in the same area once herself. Anne: "I saw the Grossglockner then. We also did the Tour du Mont Blanc once. I have very fond memories of that. Especially the huts in the mountains were an adventure for me too, eating together with others in the evening, going to sleep and getting up early again."

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The children were not too bad, as far as their own physical exertion was concerned. For the slightly older children, the lack of Wi-Fi was a problem at first: "They got used to this over the days. We played games in the huts and went to bed early. Always a good idea to bring a deck of cards. Also, download some movies on the phone or tablet for them to watch. A pocket knife, compass and binoculars are a must, there is so much to see!"

Would you like to hike the Lasörling Höhenweg with the kids? Check out our offers here.

From 8 Years: Part of the Stubai Höhenweg in Austria


The Stubaier Höhenweg is an absolute bestseller at Bookatrekking.com. The full Höhenweg is a circuit with 9 stages and almost 9,000 vertical metres. Not for children. Almost all huts have direct access from the valley, providing interesting options. These include a 3-day Stubaier Höhenweg, an option popular with families ready for something more challenging.

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Make no mistake about the short distances and average hiking time, on the Stubai Höhenweg you will have to deal with ravines and danger of falling. Michael Gstrein of Tourismusverband Stubai Tirol therefore rightly warns, "Children need to have some experience in the mountains and a good physical condition - stages are several kilometres long, contain quite a few altitude metres and take quite a bit of time - and of course they need to bring good equipment. Shoes are especially important, also for the little ones". Find all the options here. Beware: Don't look too much at the 5-day option, as it includes a part of the Stubaier Höhenweg that is not suitable for children.

From 8 Years: Short Alta Via 1 in the Dolomites


Thanks to their sublime, monumental and colourful landscapes, the Dolomites are among the most beautiful mountain landscapes in the world. That it is a deserved UNESCO World Heritage Site is evident every year on the trails of the popular Alta Via 1. The route, a stone's throw from Cortina d'Ampezzo and starting at the famous Lago di Braies (Pragser Wildsee), attracts thousands of hikers every year. The entire Alta Via 1 takes more than a week and is not suitable for families. The northern part of the Alta Via 1 though, which includes the start of the route, is often booked by families.

Some even with children under 8, like the family of Andrew and Phoebe Mackenzie from Australia. A surprising trip: "My wife and I have always talked about doing a hut-to-hut hike, but never made it a priority in our travels before we had children. We thought we might have to wait ten years until our children became teenagers, but because Bookatrekking.com allowed children and gave us good advice, we were happy to do the Alta Via 1 with our sons aged 6 and 3. We were travelling from Australia for a family wedding in Italy and made sure we had plenty of time for hiking. We had done full-day hikes before, but never a multi-day hike."

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Photo: The Mackenzie family on the short Alta Via 1

It turned out to be a fantastic experience for all four, says Andrew: "The kids found it more interesting than we expected. Four days of hiking is such precious bonding time. We were able to talk, laugh and sing. We came up with discussion topics like religion, climate change, ethics, family history, etc. - Topics that require thinking and conversation time, which you don't get time for in daily life."

Andrew and Phoebe didn't have to buy much for the boys: "We already had a carrier for our 3-year-old. We bought a big hiking backpack that could also carry all our overnight gear. Our hiking boots were already worn in. We bought hiking poles in Cortina and that definitely helped our 6-year-old. We bought our 6-year-old a Fitbit, which gave him a sense of achievement at the end of each day when he analysed the data."

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Photo: The children at Rifugio Biela on the Alta Via 1

"Basically, doing a hike with children is feasible. Other hikers were so encouraging and kind to our children. Yes, it is more effort and takes a bit longer, but it is an experience for them that not many of their peers will have. I hope our 6-year-old will at least remember the sense of achievement he felt every day and that it will be a fond memory that develops him as a person," Andrew said. With a little patience, children as young as 8 years old can hike the short Alta Via 1. To make it bite-sized, the trekking experts have developed a version of the short Alta Via 1 where the huts are booked a little closer together. This allows for shorter distances and thus more time for daily hiking. You can read more about the Alta Via 1 here and compare options for the Alta Via 1 here.

Where Do I Book My Hut-To-Hut Trek?


At Bookatrekking.com you can book self-guided hut-to-hut tours. We arrange the mountain huts and other accommodation for you and make sure you receive all relevant information well in advance. If you have any questions about hut to hut treks with children, contact our trekking experts. They will be happy to help you make an informed choice!

Want to read more about hut-to-hut hiking in general? Then check out one of our next blog posts:

Austria
Peter Habeler Runde
Salzburger Almenweg
Adlerweg

Switzerland
Via Alpina 1
Kesch Trek

Slovenia
Julian Alps with Triglav

Italy
Alta Via 1
Alta Via 2
Palaronda Trek
Alta Via del Granito

France
Walker's Haute Route
Tour du Mont Blanc
Tour du Mont Thabor
GR20
Hut-to-Hut in Mercantour

Spain
Carros de Foc
Porta del Cel
GR221

About us

At Bookatrekking.com you'll find the treks that will make your life unforgettable. Whether you want to discover the Inca Trail or climb the Kilimanjaro, Bookatrekking.com offers a wide and varied range of services. Here, no false promises are made, prices are transparent and every booking is confirmed immediately. Find, compare, book and trek.

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Our trekking experts are happy to help you out! Please submit your inquiry and we will get back to you as soon as possible!

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